To making mistakes

Here is some good advice from Neil Gaiman via the Parmigiana Whisperer. Writers hung up on rules, take note!


“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” – Neil Gaiman

Happy 2021 everybody! Here’s to some fantastic mistakes!

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  1. I think this wisdom is true in many areas of life. Sometimes we learn the most when we make mistakes. I remember incidents when I fell on my face as a young adult, and those life lessons were quite helpful in the long run.

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  2. Great advice. I wholly support this idea, which reflects the advice I give to would-be poets. Go ahead and write some bad poetry! Eventually you will get some really great stuff out of all that fluff and nonsense.

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  3. I don’t think there’s a writer alive who isn’t scared of failure and yet, here we are, Indies shouting our words into the void in the hope an echo comes back. Mistakes galore and failures by the dozen, but we’re still here. I take that as a very good sign.

    Stay well. -hugs-

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      1. Amen! When I started writing fiction there was no one, absolutely no one I could talk to about this crazy thing I was doing. Finding people who spoke my language when it came to books and the whole writing process was life changing. Making friends with them gave me a community in the truest sense of the word. 🙂

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  4. I’m sitting here thinking about things I’m afraid to try – writing a novel comes to mind straight away. I’m primarily a writer of poetry and short stories and the thought of tackling a novel terrifies me!

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    1. If it really wants to be written, it will find a way to make you do it. If a scene comes to you, write it down. And further scenes after that. Once there are enough, you can figure out how to string them together.

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  5. I used to tell the youth swimmers I coached that they had permission to “fail spectacularly” because it was better to see them try really hard and screw up (say, try to lead the lane in workout, make the mistake of starting out way too fast, and fall to the back of the line) than to play it safe and not make improvements. I think the mindset works with writing, too, as Gaiman so eloquently puts it.

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  6. Excellent attitude! It’s sort of like cooking. Unless you’re an experienced chef, the first time you make something, you probably made a mistake or two. But that doesn’t mean the dish didn’t taste good! And you’ll make it better the second time around.

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  7. Splendid advice!
    It is said (where the origin is I know not) that the person who never made a mistake never made anything.
    As I see it when making a mistake in writing the writer opens up new opportunities to explore other pathways.

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    1. That’s true, Roger. It’s kind of like leaving the beaten path and striking out into the forest. You might get lost or stuck in a swamp, but you may find something wonderful as well. And others may follow you.

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